What’s In A Word? Sometimes Everything

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In India, when people meet and part they often say “Namaste.” The word comes from Sanskrit and literally means, “bowing to you” or “I bow to you.” There is an increasing use of this word in the yoga communities, but words are empty unless there is action behind them. Let’s start here with a beautiful description of the word:

Namaste - I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place in you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.” - From “Polishing The Mirror” by Ram Dass

The first time I ever read that particular definition, it struck me like a bolt of lightening. It was like I had found the answer: THAT’S IT, WE ARE ALL ONE AND THAT’S WHY! We all have the same light deep inside of us; a thread from the same cloth that connects us all—a great simple truth. But here’s the thing; just saying the word doesn’t make a bit of difference. It’s living the meaning of the word that makes the difference. It’s a small seven-letter word that has infinite dimension.

Take a minute to absorb the meaning of the following paragraph: there is a place inside of each of us that is the same, a beautiful place, of love, of light, that each one of us has within us, even the person who seems to be cranky or irritating or annoying or negative. Yes, they too have that place deep inside of them, though it might be harder to find. So, how do we live that word when we encounter an irritating, cranky person? Ah, that is the question and the challenge; the very thing we all need to help us “polish our mirror.”

When we are able to do this, we begin to change not only ourselves, but the world around us. Think about how easy it is to be with people who are happy, positive, fun, and enthusiastic. It’s a breeze, no challenge, nothing to even think about.

Now, put a negative, cranky person in a group of easy-to-get-along-with people and what choices will you make? Your test has begun. Will you greet that person with the word “namaste” as well? If you do, shouldn’t you mean it? Don’t they also have that light and love deep inside them somewhere as well or is that only inside of happy, fun people?

We might think for a moment that certain people are so cranky they can’t possibly have any love inside of them. Of course, that’s not true. We all have a light within, perhaps hidden in a cave deep within, but it’s there. It is those very people who seem to have no light at all (but remember they do) that need us to embrace them and love them all the more.

When we embrace the “hard to embrace cranky pants,” they almost don’t know what to do. You can almost hear them thinking, “Hey, why is this person showing me love? Nobody shows me love (hence one of the reasons they are probably cranky). Boy, this feels good. They are not like everyone else, people are usually so mean to me. I want what they have.”  So perhaps your example helps them take another step on their journey towards the light, which I believe is where we all ultimately want to be.

When you embrace the “Un-embraceable You,” you are living the word namaste and not just saying it. You help to create an environment of unconditional love for those around you—ALL of those around you, cranks included. The point is not to do something so that you get a certain result. You do what’s good for your development as a loving spiritual being and that energy will bear its own fruit. Being loving and embracing and forgiving and kind, especially to those who you want to run away from and not re-invite to your next party is a great testament to your own ability to find the love within yourself and sprinkle it around the world you live in.

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world.

 Everyone you meet is your mirror." - Ken Keyes

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